Here are some masculine responses to our discussion last week “I Just Want Him to Spend More Time with Me.” I am so thankful for all the men who were willing to take the time to answer. We appreciate your comments so much! This Thursday and next Monday I will be sharing what the ladies had to say about this important topic. These men are opening up and being vulnerable with us – I would like this to be a safe place for them to do this. Comments are welcome, but, ladies, let’s not use this opportunity to criticize these husbands, but rather to seek to understand their point of view. This is a fantastic opportunity to expand and stretch our understanding and to explore the world of masculinity together. (And, gentlemen, as per my comment policy, I am unable to publish comments that are “manospherian” in honor of my husband’s request for me not to. Thanks for understanding.)
CAUTION – apparently for some of the ladies, reading about how men think and feel can be a trigger for sinful thoughts. If reading a post like this is going to get you thinking about why your husband should be more like a woman or how you want him to change, please consider whether you might want to skip today’s post!
MAN #1 (responding to a particular wife’s comment)
If I may, perhaps I can help you to understand your husband’s perspective in your situation.
You asked him to spend more time, and he did spend more time. Yet you are frustrated. This gets him confused and frustrated, because he honestly believes that he did exactly what you asked him to do.
I would like to make a suggestion to you that might create in him a desire to spend more time with you.
- Thank him for spending time with you, even though you believe that he did it only to appease you. And then drop the issue, at least for now.
If he believes that you honestly appreciate that he did spend some time with you, he will want to spend more time with you. However, if he believes that you will not acknowledge what he did, then he will figure, “What’s the use? She won’t acknowledge that I did spend time with her.”
- In addition to thanking him for spending time with you, spend some time with him. But do it his way, not your way.
When he is working on a project in the house, simply sit with him without saying a word, just because you want to be with him in his world. If he wants conversation, you talk about what he wants to talk about, and only for as long as he wants to talk about it. Otherwise, don’t say a word. He will notice that you sat with him with no strings attached, and that you let him totally define how the time together was spent. He will appreciate that you were with him in his world, and you let him totally define that world.
It may be a slow process, but if you will begin thanking him for whatever steps he takes, however small, and if you will begin spending time in his world as I have described above, I believe you will begin to see improvement in your situation.
As a husband who loves spending time with his wife and who spends most of everyday in close proximity of her, she has learned the following about this man.
1. I can only do one thing at a time well & joyfully. I enjoy talking when its talking time. And when it’s not, I prefer to concentrate on what I am doing.
2. I love her more than anything. But any conversation where she expects me to carry half of it will have to be 5 minutes or shorter, then it drops to a 80/20 ratio at best. I’ve only got so many words to use in a day and when the quota is up it’s my Bible, a book, the TV, the computer…or watching paint dry- but no more words! They are truly painful after that point.
3. I have two gears. Go all out and stop. I don’t switch them well. I’m usually good for conversation during the stop but not during the first 15 minutes of it. That is my transition time.
4. She’s learned that I love her and I think she is immensely talented in many things- like scrapbooking. But I will never “care” about it. Just that she enjoys herself doing it.
5. I don’t enjoy talking about things that I don’t care about. My eyes will quickly glaze over no matter how much I care about her. We like “meat” to our conversations. And yes, sometimes sports count because it’s the only “battle” that is allowed in manhood anymore.
6. I could spend all day by her side and that would be enjoyable. I could not spend all day talking. But sitting next to her. Holding hands. You bet.
I write this with a heavy heart, but with the hope that it may help some wives understand some things from a man’s perspective. For me (and I would think it applies to at least a few other men), when requests are submitted like wanting to spend more time, you have to look at the recent history (and maybe even not so recent) history of the relationship. The first thing I have thought when it was presented to me was “when we are together it has always been a painful experience, so why would I want to do that?”
I’m not saying this is right, but what I immediately think about are all the criticisms, innuendo’s, complaints, and disappointments, etc., that have happened when we have been together. It could be criticisms about how I drive, or what I wear. It could be unresolved arguments. I (we) have sometimes even though “Why does she want to spend time with me when apparently she does not respect me?” All these things and more go throught our (my) mind. Your motives may be pure in wanting to spend time with us, but if there are issues, it may not be easy to communicate it.
I’m a pretty laid back guy. I will avoid a fight if I can. But I am very easy to approach. If you approach me correctly. If you don’t then the defensive shields will go up. What you are saying could be good, true and sincere, but if it’s said in a disrespectful way you will lose us. So my suggestion is that before you present your hubby with a request such as spending more time, ask him first about how he’s feeling about things in a non-confrontational way. Build up to that. If you are not careful, he will take it as a criticism…especially if you say something like “Why don’t we spend more time together?” All this might sound childish, but those are the things that go through our head, especially if we feel we have not been respected or appreciated. We will not be able to make the transition from not spending time with you to automatically wanting to spend quality time, unless certain things have been addressed first.